Hey guys, Leili here. We’ve got big changes happening around here that you ought to know about, so keep on readin’ for a full update!
I just got back from spending a few days in New York City with some family. The city at this time of year is always the most magical, and gives me all kinds of warm and fuzzies. Our plan was to finish up our Christmas shopping, but unsurprisingly, we were too disorganized to make that happen. (And let’s be real – I’ll just end up running to the mall the day before Christmas like I do every year anyway.)
Instead of shopping, we mostly focused on filling our stomachs with good food and plenty of hot chocolate.
Some of the food I had was out-of-this-world-amazing, so I really wanted to share it with you. These are places we didn’t cover in last summer’s New York City post, but they should be on your list for your next visit.
Before we get into it, I have some blog-changing news: Wei will be moving away from Yin and Yolk. She’ll be back every now and then to say hi and maybe even share one of her gorgeous recipes, but what this really means for you is that you’ll be getting a lot more Leili-time. Which means more desserts, less meat, and probably a little less soup.
Now that this is a one-man show, I’ll be sharing a recipe every 10 days instead of every 5. So sign up at the bottom of the page to receive an email every time a new post comes out, and keep an eye out for Yin and Yolk’s new look, coming very soon.
Now, let’s get back to the reason we’re all here: the food.
We visited Luxembourg to eat breakfast in Upper West Side style. While a bit pricey, their pastries and breakfast entrees were worthy of that eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head kind of bliss that only comes from taking a bite of exceptional food.
Croissants are served with crème fraîche, and their brioche french toast topped with honey butter inspired me to be a better french-toast-maker. Service was also top notch.
In between small spurts of wandering around the city and trying to get inspired by storefront displays, we flitted in and out of bakeries and cafes to recharge and stay warm. While Maison Kayser’s mocha was extraordinary and worthy of it’s very own monument, I’ve already talked about Kayser in my recap of what I ate in Paris. The other star?
This Thomas Keller establishment is hardly in need of extra promotion; it’s been around for over a decade and it’s one of the best bakery chains in the country. Nevertheless, I can’t help but swoon every time I bite into one of their freshly-baked confections, so I must share my experience with you in case you’ve never had the chance to go yourself.
You can’t go wrong with any of their pastries, and it’s a crime to not grab a brioche loaf for the road. Their case displays an array of macarons, cookies, dainty little cakes, tarts, and puddings. The chocolate pudding surprised me with a layer of oreo cookie crumble – from Thomas Keller’s very own homemade oreo recipe.
The brownies, which were the first thing I ever tasted at Bouchon years ago, are still my number one choice. They’re bite-size but pack a rich chocolatey punch, with a texture only the gods could have conceived. Yes, they are that good.
And now for the real star: Buvette. This West Village bistro has an intimate feel, and it’s not just because you’re seated mere inches away from the table beside you. The warm lighting, soft music, funky decor and friendly vibe all work together so that you can relax and enjoy the magic that comes out of their kitchen.
This was by far the best meal I had while in New York, and rivals the ravioli I had at Amélie last summer. I didn’t think anything would ever come close.
The menu is made up of small plates, with big flavors. We started with the carotte rapées, which was a salad of julienned carrots with pistachios in a light vinaigrette. I never thought carrots could taste so divine.
We also shared the poireaux, which was a small dish of boiled leeks with mustard vinaigrette. If you get this, you’ll want to order two – they go fast.
Then, we ordered each special they had that night – boiled eggs with truffle butter, and a baked pasta with cream, cheese, and bacon. Along with an order of cauliflower au gratin, these dishes had us questioning all our food choices before this point. What were we thinking, not eating this every time we’d been in the city?
The eggs were fluffy and perfectly seasoned, and served atop two pieces of crunchy toast that were also covered in truffle butter. If I had to eat one thing for every meal each day, it would be these eggs.
With all the butter, bread and cheese that so often makes up an authentic French dinner, we were stuffed. But we persevered and ordered dessert, because someone has to do the hard work.
The mousse was airy yet rich, and reminded me of this dairy-free chantilly cream. In other words, it was heavenly. I was glad we ordered both desserts, as the apple tart with crème fraîche would have been a damn shame to miss. Even as someone who doesn’t usually go for fruity desserts, I loved it.
We went home full and happy, and I continue to dream of ways to move to New York without going broke in a week. One day I will make it happen, but until then, I’ll just have to keep dreaming the dream.